By David Runciman and Catherine Carr
About this podcast
Corbyn! Trump! Brexit! Politics has never been more unpredictable, more alarming or more interesting. TALKING POLITICS is the podcast that will try to make sense of it all. Each Thursday, in Cambridge, David Runciman will talk to the most interesting people around: novelists, comedians, historians, philosophers - and even a few politicians - and ask them what they think is going on... Democracy is feeling the strain everywhere. What might happen next? How bad could it get? As the crazy stuff happens, TALKING POLITICS will be on it. It’s the political conversation everyone is having: please join us.
In this podcast

News & Politics


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By WNYC Studios and The New Yorker
By Mathis Entertainment, Inc.
March 15, 2018
We talk to George about some of the biggest questions of all: how to make politics better, how to effect meaningful change, how to save the planet. Who is going to make the real difference? Plus we ask whether he's been discombobulated by having Michael Gove as Environment Secretary. Short answer: yes! Recorded as part of the Imagine 2027 project
March 7, 2018
Germany finally has a government, while Italy has none. We try to make sense of the latest twists in European politics, including theextraordinary results of the Italian elections. Why is social democracy is such trouble everywhere? Can Merkel's grand coalition survive? Whatis Italy for anyway? With Chris Clark, Helen Thompson and Chris Bickerton.
March 1, 2018
David talks to the hosts of the Reasons to be Cheerful podcast about why they are so darned perky about politics. We discuss whether the political surprises are likely to keep coming and Ed and Geoff pick their favourite ideas from the ones they've covered on the show. Plus we ask Ed the question we asked his brother David a few months back: if there are so many good progressive ideas out there, why didn't the Blair government act on more of them? He gives a slightly different answer. Recorded in Geoff's loft.
Feb. 22, 2018
We talk about one of the central questions of British politics: what does Jeremy Corbyn really want? In the week he's been forced to answer questions about what he did in the Cold War, we ask where his past connects to his present and how long he can maintain his delicate balancing act on Europe. Plus we discuss his attack on the press barons who are attacking him: where does power now lie in the new media landscape? With Helen Thompson and Chris Brooke.
Feb. 15, 2018
David talks to Tara Westover about her incredible new book Educated, which tells the story of how a girl brought up by survivalists in Idaho and who never went to school ended up with a PhD from Cambridge. Along the way we discuss what education means and what Tara's journey has taught her about politics and about life. Really, this is a conversation about the important stuff.
Feb. 8, 2018
With stock markets swooning and financial volatility back, we talk about the deeper trends underpinning our politics and our future. Why have British governments never managed to fix the housing crisis? What does the state of the American economy mean for Trump's long-term prospects? And will a period of economic growth make our politics more stable, or are the wild times set to continue? These are the fundamentals. With Helen, Chris Brooke and Aaron.
Feb. 1, 2018
This week David and Helen chew over the big issues of British politics. How vulnerable is Theresa May? What is Philip Hammond playing at? What would be the point of a second referendum on Brexit? Lots of questions, lots of answers, not so much agreement on which answers are the right ones. You decide!
Jan. 25, 2018
With Italians elections coming up, we talking to the leading philosopher of democracy Nadia Urbinati about what's going on. How is Berlusconi still in the game? What is the role of the Five Star movement? Are Italian politicians learning any lessons from Trump or Macron? Plus we address the perennial question: is Italy a good indicator of where democracy is heading?
Jan. 18, 2018
David talks to two-time Booker-prize winning novelist Peter Carey (Oscar and Lucinda, True History of the Kelly Gang) about his latest book A Long Way From Home, which tells a story of race and dispossession in Australia's recent past. Plus we cover a lot else besides: Trump, conspiracy theories, the CIA, Tocqueville and what's it's like to be an Australian in America today. A wide-ranging chat with one of the greatest novelists of our time.
Jan. 11, 2018
Before we get stuck into 2018, we go back to the sixteenth century to explore another technology revolution that overthrew the established order. John Naughton recently published his 95 theses for the digital age and we talk to John about the theology of technopoly and the Church of Facebook. Plus we're joined by Helen to discuss the parallels between the current revolt against the elites and what happened five hundred years ago. From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg: where does this story end?